Glow Stick - History

History

Cyalume was invented by Frank Arthen and Laszlo J. Bollyky of American Cyanamid, based on work by Edwin A. Chandross of Bell Labs. Other early work on chemiluminescence was carried out at the same time, by researchers under Herbert Richter at China Lake Naval Weapons Center.

Several US patents for "glow stick" type devices were received by various inventors. Most of these are assigned to the US Navy. The earliest patent lists Bernard Dubrow and Eugene Daniel Guth as having invented a Packaged Chemiluminescent Material in June 1965 (Patent 3,774,022). In October 1973, Clarence W. Gilliam, David Iba Sr., and Thomas N. Hall were registered as inventors of the Chemical Lighting Device (Patent 3,764,796). In June, 1974 a patent for a Chemiluminescent Device was issued with Herbert P. Richter and Ruth E. Tedrick listed as the inventors (Patent 3,819,925).

In January 1976, a patent was issued for the Chemiluminescent Signal Device, with Vincent J. Esposito, Steven M. Little, and John H. Lyons listed as the inventors (Patent 3,933,118). This patent recommended a single glass ampoule that is suspended in a second substance, that when broken and mixed together, provide the chemiluminescent light. The design also included a stand for the signal device so it could be thrown from a moving vehicle and remain standing in an upright position on the road. The idea was this would replace traditional emergency roadside flares and would be superior, since it was not a fire hazard, would be easier and safer to deploy, and would not be made ineffective if struck by passing vehicles. This design, with its single glass ampoule inside a plastic tube filled with a second substance that when bent breaks the glass and then is shaken to mix the substances, most closely resembles the typical glow stick sold today.

In December, 1977 a patent was issued for a Chemical Light Device with Richard Taylor Van Zandt as the inventor (Patent 4,064,428). This design improved upon the previous designs by adding a steel ball inside the plastic tube that when shaken would break the glass ampoule.

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